VCA students advance in national exhibit

Two of the 15 entries submitted by students at the Village Center for the Arts in New Milford have been selected to be included in the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition.

Works by Fiona MacKessy, 8, of New Milford, and Madeleine Alagna, 9, of Brookfield are juried winners for their age group.

Fiona was 7 and Madeleine was 8 when they created the pieces, “A Hot Dog Dressed as a Hot Dog” and “Beauty of the Seas,” respectively.

Their work will be featured on a national stage at the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) March 27-29.

“I’m over the moon,” said Sharon Kaufman, co-owner of the VCA on Main Street.

“This is everything you can hope for for your students when you teach ceramics, especially because of the way we teach,” Kaufman said. “We don’t do the work for them. They do it themselves.”

The center is hopeful local sponsors will help underwrite the cost for the winners and their families to travel to the exhibit for the opening.

“We’re very excited and very proud of her,” said Fiona’s father, Steve.

He said Fiona was a “little shocked” when she heard the news, but had a “big smile on her face.”

“I think the VCA is a wonderful addition to the town,” he said, noting both his daughter and son “learn so much in terms of tapping into the artistic ability they have.”

“I am so proud of Madeleine, and am excited for her,” said Madeleine’s mom, Rachel.

“Maddie has been part of VCA’s art programs since she was 4 and has always been drawn to hand sculpting,” she said. “The Village Center for the Arts does a tremendous job in recognizing young artists’ capabilities and allowing them the freedom to be creative without restriction.”

The entries were chosen from 1,164 submissions nationwide.

VCA was invited to participate in the annual competition for kindergarten through twelfth grade students in the U.S. by one of the competition’s founding members.

All of the entered pieces, made by 10 VCA students ages 7 to 18, are in the window of the VCA Pottery Studio on 1 Church St. in New Milford for the duration of the exhibit process.

The winning submissions, however, will soon be shipped to Minneapolis, Minn., for exhibition.

Designed to showcase the best K-12 ceramic work made in the country, the exhibition takes place in a different city each year in conjunction with the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).

For information about VCA, or to be an underwriter, call VCA at 860-354-4318.